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The Daily Beast: "Is J.J. Abrams Too Big for TV?"

Sci-fi auteur Abrams' latest TV show, Undercovers, has gotten the axe at NBC.

Over at The Daily Beast, I take look at what went wrong and why TV needs a fully-committed, not watered down, Abrams in my latest feature, "Is J.J. Abrams Too Big for TV?"

Do you agree with my assessment? Did you try to watch Undercovers? Do you miss the days of Lost, Alias, and Felicity? Should Abrams be more committed to these television endeavors even as his feature film career skyrockets? Or is it a case of over-committing, audience expectations, or creative partnerships? Head to the comments section to discuss.

Comments

Page48 said…
JJ Abrams has lost touch with his constituents.

Just listen (read) to the pablum spewing from his mouth in this 2008 article appearing in "Variety" when he was out drumming up support for his new show, "Fringe".

He throws "Alias" under the bus, implying that he will never again treat his viewers so shabbily as he did with that show (his best, IMO). From now on, it's all standalone, easy to follow TV for the glassy-eyed, casual viewing masses.

This is why "Fringe" was so incredibly uninspiring until midway through S2, when the dreaded procedural formula began to give way to a more serialized, mythology-laden approach, just in the nick of time.

I believe that "Undercovers" was exactly what JJ wanted it to be...the 1980's revisited, which supports my theory that, at least when it comes to guaging TV audiences, JJ Abrams has done lost the plot. How or why NBC could be duped into thinking this was a winner is beyond me.

"Alias", "Lost", and to a lesser degree, "Fringe", are the kind of shows he does best and he strays from the sci-fi serial dramas at his own peril.

Perhaps, the early and richly deserved demise of "Undercovers" will be a "teachable moment" for JJ.
Chris L said…
I think J.J. is talented enough to make a successful show that doesn't have to be a sci-fi serial. I just think he needs to be more involved with it. There's not many people around that can take his "vision" and make it happen. After all, look what happened after he stepped aside on Lost. We got an unbalanced season 2 and a season 3 that was "way out there". It was a while before Damon and Carlton could get things back on course. (And I'm still not happy with the ending!!)

What I'm saying is that, J.J. needs to be more involved in the show making process if he wants to connect with his audience properly. There is only one J.J. Abrams, and there aren't many good substitutes.

It's clear that he wants to do more television. But he also clearly wants to do movies. He's very good at both, but he can't do both. And these lackluster shows with his name stamped on them is a result of that.

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